A Message From Fr. Peter

Dear Brothers and Sisters,
As Lent begins tomorrow, I wanted to offer this little note to help you get things ready if you haven’t already, and just to offer a few thoughts to make this season as fruitful as possible.
First of all, just a reminder that even though tomorrow is Valentine’s Day, Ash Wednesday is what we are celebrating liturgically, which means that abstaining from meat and fasting (one main meal and two smaller snacks that together do not exceed the portion of the one main meal) are still required.  Please plan any Valentine’s Day celebrations on another day and avoid eating candy unless a bag of heart shaped candy is one of your small snacks for the day. Second, if you still need a little help deciding what to do for Lent, I have the following little guide that will hopefully give you some thoughts.  Remember, Lent is a good time to start doing something that you should already be doing, and something that you should keep up going forward.  It is meant to be habit forming in the life of virtue.  So keep in mind the following goals: greater union with God, greater discipline and virtue, greater freedom to give myself away in love.
Note: For each of the areas of prayer, fasting and alms giving we should choose at least one discipline. 
Ask the Lord to help you to determine what you should consider adding to your Prayer regimen during this Lent. Below is a list of suggestions that you may find helpful, but this certainly is not an exhaustive list.  This discipline helps us to grow in union with the Lord. Daily Mass as much as possible, or one additional day of the week. Daily Rosary, or in order to work up the practice, perhaps a decade of the Rosary every day. Daily Divine Mercy Chaplet. Reading scripture for 15 minutes a day. Making a daily visit to the Blessed Sacrament on your way to or from work, or during your lunch break. Reading a daily meditational book. Reading the lives of the Saints. Adding a morning offering to my daily routine. Adding a daily examination of conscience at the end of the day. Listening to a spiritual podcast (Many resources can be found on formed.org, or the Hallow app)
Ask the Lord what he wants you to give up this Lent, something that may be an occasion to sin that needs to be cut out, or something that is a distraction from spending more time in Prayer with the Lord.  This discipline helps us to gain greater self-mastery.  Yes, this fasting section is supposed to be hard. Cut down on screen time.  Limiting TV, movies, video games, social media.  Set timers for yourself.  Give up watching a particular show.  Replace unhealthy movies, TV shows, and social media with something positive.  Maybe start watching The Chosen. Check out formed.org for a large selection of faith building video series, movies, podcasts etc.  The time saved could be used to add in the prayer time that you added above. Give up alcohol, sweets, your favorite food or beverage. Add a discipline such as going for a daily walk or run, starting an exercise routine. Start a particular diet to help with balance and increased health. Limit how much you spend shopping, going out to eat, on entertainment, etc.
Ask the Lord how he wants you to start giving of yourself.  This discipline helps us to realize that our goal in life is to live for God’s glory and for His Kingdom and not for ourselves.Choosing a particular charity to donate towards, local charities such as the food pantry, homeless shelters, pregnancy care centers, etc., or increase your weekly donations to the Church.  Remember that every Christian should be striving to tithe, which means 10% of your income should be offered to the Lord for the growth and work of His Kingdom.Give of your time to volunteer at a local charity or to get involved in the Church.  Maybe it’s time to join the choir, or to become a Sacristan, to help keep the Church neat and clean, to volunteer at the school, to help with coffee and donuts on Sundays so we can offer them every week.Offer your talents and volunteer to share your gifts with the Church and local community.   Perhaps you are gifted with building, or maybe with finances, perhaps you love to sew, or to create, or you are gifted with a musical instrument.  There are ways that the Lord may be calling you to share yourself and your gift to build up his Kingdom.I hope this list is helpful. Know that I am praying for all of you and wish you a blessed start to the Lenten season. Masses are at 8:30am and 5:30pm on Ash Wednesday. 

God Bless You,